From Panera Bread to the Boardroom: Two Moms Collaborate to Empower Women

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Three years ago, I was a part of a small social media team that was covering the NY Business Expo Summit in New York City. After several hours of busily typing soundbites of some of the brightest minds in Social Media, I sauntered to the nearest lavatory where I was approached by Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.D of Work Like a Mother®. She was fascinated with the speed at which I was typing and covering the event and asked me if I could help her hone her skills.

Not too long after the event we met in a Panera Bread in New York City to discuss the possibility of working with one another. As we were sharing our backgrounds and journeys as mothers, we realized we both had a passion for seeing women thrive. We spent most of our time talking about what we might be able to accomplish together someday. These lofty wishes were wrapped up in us being able to provide programs, events, and workshops that could assist women who have lost their way with a way to become relevant again through unique learning opportunities- an academy of sorts.

Some three years later, I am happy to say that academy was launched in 2015 as the Work Like a Mother® Career Academy for Social Media and Job Search Training. I came aboard as a social media and personal branding instructor. In 2016, we are collaborating in a more formal fashion to create new programming and provide the next iteration of the Work Like a Mother® Career Academy for Social Media and Job Search Training.

Our first collaboration is a program that was one of my proudest achievements for 2015- my Talent Think Social Circle Virtual Mentorship Teleclass ™. I launched this program with an idea, shoestring budget and blind faith from October through December of 2015 following the conclusion of the academy and it was a success.

Class “Usie” after my Art of Personal Branding and Social Media Workshop.

 

With the interest and support of Work Like a Mother®, my program has an extended lifeline and has grown into a multi-level program serving two separate needs for the women we serve:

1) Some women just want to re-enter the workforce. As such, their primary interest is in enhancing their skills and building the confidence needed to become a marketable candidate in an ever-difficult and selective job market.

2) In complete contrast to the previous example, there are women who have ideas for businesses they want to launch and need a place where they can incubate and grow those ideas into businesses. They too require some up-skilling and coaching to get there and we want to serve that need as well.

Who better to nurture women who have either of these needs than two mothers/business women that understand and empathize with their journeys. Corporate America isn’t checking for them and certainly hasn’t made much progress in ensuring the career mobility and flexibility of women, so we are tackling it in the only way we know- through education and coaching.

WLAM Open House

Work Like a Mother Open House (1.15.16)

 

You may be thinking what does this have to do with Human Resources?

On the surface, probably not anything. Let’s dive a little deeper though. When I worked in HR, I recognized that people could skip along all day creating policies and procedures without any care or concern for how it impacts the workforce. We were keeping the organization compliant and that is necessary. However, I often wondered if things would be different if Human Resources could function in a truly altruistic manner. My HR buddy, Dave Ryan shared something rather profound in a recent blog post. The post titled: “A Utopian Workplace”drove home an important consideration which is: “it is hard for HR to create a utopian society in the way everyone expects when society has yet to right certain human wrongs. I have to agree and I believe one of the things we have screwed up left and right is how women are regarded and treated in the workplace. More disturbingly is how women who choose to become mothers are often displaced and forgotten. While my collaboration has really nothing to do with HR directly, indirectly Hilary and I are attempting to triage the ills of society from the outside-in-with the hope that these women can thrive and succeed in the way that is most meaningful for them.

If you are interested in learning more about our programs, go to: http://worklikeamother.com/Mentorship.html.  In addition, if you are interested in featuring us on your blog, publication, podcast etc. to discuss our work we would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you.

Here’s a little more insight on Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.d and Work Like a Mother® worth knowing:

Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.D. is the founder of Work Like a Mother®  and is a Career Counselor and Board Certified Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor who earned her Doctoral Degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College. With office locations in Fairfield County Connecticut, Dr. Berger has pioneered a solution oriented career counseling system designed exclusively for educated mothers at home raising their families. She has counseled women in transition both in university settings and in private practice for over twenty years.  Work Like a Mother®, a thriving and dynamic community for mothers, is a one stop shop for mothers rebuilding their professional relevance and marketability during and after their parenting years.

Five Hiring Crimes Your Talent Acquisition Team Is Committing

Courtesy of Unsplash.com

Courtesy of Unsplash.com

I’ve been talking a lot about where HR is headed this year, which is important so we can prepare ourselves appropriately. However, what about now? What can we fix right now? It has occurred to me that there are some basic precepts in Talent Acquisition (TA) that practitioners are not tending to. This advice emanates from conversations I have had with several jobseekers about their hiring experiences of late. If you are doing committing any of these hiring crimes, please fix it immediately.

  • Asking the candidate for information in bits and pieces. Every company has necessary information they need in order to make a formal offer. In case you were unaware, candidates are as busy as you are. They don’t have time to be going back and forth with you about what you need. Create a checklist or some sort of system for the jobs you hire for to ensure you account for all of the items you need to collect from a prospective hire. To commit this crime is to annoy your candidate and to give the impression that your company works haphazard manner.
  • Not allowing your new hires to give adequate notice. If the candidate has to wait several weeks to get through your pre-hire process, you can wait the two to three weeks they need to give their current employer adequate notice of their departure. If you expect it from your people, you should expect others need to do the same for the companies they are employed by as well.
  • Telling prospective hires to give notice before you have fully vetted them. No one has time to be putting in notice with their current employer prior to you vetting them or officially offering them a position- only to be told the position is no longer being offered to them. This is a crime, because you never know what can come up during your pre-offer process to prevent you from hiring them. Will you help them find a new job if it turns out you can’t hire them? Probably not. It is never advisable to say anything to a current employer, until a prospective hire is fully vetted and given an official offer letter. Make sure your TA people aren’t telling candidates to do this.
  • Ridiculously long applications. When’s the last time you looked at your application? Do you really need to know things like: when a person was divorced or where a deceased family member lived? These examples are just a few of the growing list of ridiculous questions asked on applications. Unless you are a federal, state or civil service agency, you should not have a 50 page application. Even within those agencies, there are often times redundancies in terms of information they solicit during the hiring process. Some advice, take a look at your application and gather only the information you absolutely need to make both a legal and practical hire.
  • Requiring candidates to incur costs in advance of their employment. A candidate I know was recently asked to send passport photos to her prospective employer (which was previously made available to the employer and lost.) The loss of the photos caused this person to have to purchase a new set of photos and pay for overnight delivery to a state agency. This was a burdensome cost for the candidate. My advice to employers is: you require it, you pay for it. Many candidates are in tough financial spots and cannot afford to pay a dollar more than what it may cost them to get to the interview and back. Do your best to eliminate economic and financial hurdles for them to overcome while trying to become employed by your company.

These are just a few instances in which the actions of your Talent Acquisition staff could be undermining your hiring efforts. I provide this advice not to point the finger, but to shed light on an area where we need to do better as a discipline. When I worked as a Talent Acquisition Specialist, my focus was to put the right people to work as quickly as possible. As a TA Specialist or Recruiter, you have to be dedicated to making every step in the hiring process as painless as possible. You make it so by letting people know what they can expect and removing unnecessary hurdles from their path to becoming an employee.

For more insights on this topic, click here to hop over to “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel.

Five Essential Qualities For Today’s Recruiter

 

Image courtesy of Flickr.com

 

Yesterday, I was on a show called: Drive Thru HR with two of my friends/colleagues (check out the replay here).  We had the chance to discuss what we see as necessary qualities for today’s Recruiters and Talent Acquisition professionals. There’s no question that there has been a shift from when I started over 10 years ago. If you speak to the average jobseeker (and this includes candidates internal to your organization) – that shift isn’t exactly a positive one. It appears that as technology improved the quality of Recruitment has decreased. The opposite should be true; but alas it isn’t and people are fed-up.

I have a few friends in the market looking for new work. As such, I have become the go-to gal for all ridiculous Recruiter stories and antics. While I am rarely shocked, I am often disappointed. For this reason, I am listing the essential qualities that I believe make a Recruiter successful.

1) Jobseeker Advocacy- I am always stunned by the Recruiter that doesn’t get that it is their job to advocate for their candidates. It may be a sore spot for me, because I worked in staffing once upon a time- where everything from your paycheck to your performance depended on your ability to find talent and get them working as soon as possible. Hiring managers look to the TA professional or Recruiter for guidance on  the candidate landscape and market. As a Recruiter, it is not only your job to snatch up the best candidates; but it is also your job to advocate for the ones that have the potential to be a great hires. You’re probably thinking- well doesn’t everyone have potential? The answer is “it depends”. However, there are times when the hiring manager wants what they want and despite their stubbornness you have to be courageous enough to advocate for your people; so your qualified applicants have a fair chance at being evaluated. I have advocated for candidates that were not necessarily the hiring managers first choice; but they were the best qualified and it turned out beautifully.

2) Understanding the Need– Too often, I hear about Recruiters engaging jobseekers without fully understanding the job they are recruiting for. Not only does it make the recruiter look ridiculous, but it is also a poor reflection on the company. How can you expect the candidate to get excited when you can’t answer basic questions about the position? Last I checked, the first thing a recruiter needs to do is to sit with the hiring manager and understand what they need . The next step is to do your own independent research about the position to add to what you already know. The moral of the story here is: know what you’re recruiting for and stop trying to herd jobseekers like you would cats.

3) Humility– We have all been in a position to look for new employment at one point or another. The Recruitment Process is not the place for a power trip. Often times, people are at their lowest when they are coming in for an interview- especially at the entry-level. Anything you can do to make them feel at ease-so they can put their best foot forward is advisable. Treat candidates as you would want to be treated.

4) Setting Expectations-  Recruiters are busy. Nobody gets that more than I do. That being said, help yourself and the candidate by letting them know what to expect in the beginning-so they don’t have to constantly bug you for status updates. If you do this and there are still complaints, you can at least rest easy at night knowing you attempted to provide some guidance to your candidates for what they should expect during the hiring process. If candidates know what to expect they will be less inclined to stalk you for answers.

5) Get Out There- I don’t care how much Social Recruiting you do- it is no substitution for getting out of the office and out to events to meet with potential candidates. In my previous life, I was often the only Recruiter willing to go to events, job fairs and the like. Some of my co-workers were reluctant to do so relying only on internet sourcing to fill positions. To each their own, but it is almost blasphemous to be a Recruiter and not want to be out and about networking.  Step away from the screen and get out to an event. It allows people to connect with you in person rather than the normal channel of applying online.

We all get busy or forget to follow-up from time-to-time. However, these should not be the defining a whole industry such as Recruitment. As with any job, the focus for Recruiters should be to deliver a consistent and quality experience. Your reputation and your company’s reputation depends on it.

 

 

 

 

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